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Boycott of Hyatt threatened due to layoffs

September 24, 2009
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BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said he plans to direct Massachusetts employees to boycott Hyatt Corporation Hotels and Resorts when conducting state business unless the chain rehires the 98 housekeepers it fired last month, according to The Boston Globe.
Some say the move seems designed to appeal to organized labor, noting that Patrick has recently struggled to improve his image among voters, something of grave importance considering the governor is up for reelection, the story stated.
In a note to Hyatt''s Chief Executive Mark Hoplamazian, Patrick said: "I understand first-hand how difficult it is to manage through the current economic challenges without compounding the disruptions the times have caused. But surely there is some way to retain the jobs for your housekeeping staffs, as other hotels have done, and to work with them to help the company meet its current challenges, rather than tossing them out unceremoniously to fend for themselves while the people they trained take their jobs at barely livable wages."
Hyatt says it created a task force to help the dismissed housekeepers find new jobs, offered retraining assistance and extended their health care coverage for three months, the story noted.
Phil Stamm, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Boston, issued a response to Patrick: "[The action] directly threatens the 600 associates who work in Hyatt properties and who live and work in Massachusetts at a time when businesses and individuals are cutting back on travel during the worst economic period we have seen in decades. We do not understand why the governor is putting more Massachusetts jobs at risk instead of working with us to find jobs for employees affected by the realities of these unprecedented economic challenges."
Some of the housekeepers claim they were asked to train their replacements and were assured that the crews were only vacation and holiday fill-ins; Hospitality Staffing Solutions and Hyatt deny these claims, with Hyatt saying the changes were neither sudden nor secretive, the story added.
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